2006 Yangarra Single Vineyard Shiraz
Australian Shiraz remains a great value at all price ranges. At $22, the 2006 Yangarra Single Vineyard Shiraz is a dark and spicy beauty from McLaren Vale in southern Australia. This wine opens with blackberry and blueberry aromas, typical for Shiraz from McLaren Vale. The maritime influences and higher elevation of the estate vineyards keep this part of the region slightly cooler than the rest. This means a bit more acidity on the finish for the Yangarra than some of its neighbors. Spicy white and black pepper, a touch of mint or eucalyptus, and big blackberry and dark cherry flavors round out the wine, with some earth, dark chocolate, and light tannins on the finish.
Cellar this wine for three to five years if you want, or enjoy it now with grilled lamb, venison, and elk. A hearty beef stew or spicy duck would also work well. Winemaker Peter Fraser ages this Shiraz in oak barrels for 18 months: 85 percent of the barrels are French oak, and 15 percent are American oak. French oak tends to give Shiraz a toasty vanilla note, while the American barrels enhance the dark chocolate and earth notes. Only 35 percent of the barrels are brand-spankin’ new, so these oaky characteristics do not dominate the wine.
The home vineyard was first planted in 1946, with the 100-plus acres of Shiraz planted between 1994 and 1998. The gray, sandy soil is the remnant of an ancient mountain range. Mr. Fraser prefers to not use packaged yeast to start fermentation, a common practice around the world. Instead, he lets the wild yeast strains native to the vineyard and winery do the work. This may be responsible for the unique herbs de Provence aromas and flavors in the Shiraz.
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